Weight training isn’t just a way to an aesthetically pleasing, sculpted body. Training with weights is also a way to maintain or improve quality of life. Call it strength, weight or resistance training, do it when you are young or old or anywhere in between and enjoy the benefits. The way to prevent knee, shoulder, hip or even back problems is to include resistance training of some kind in your weekly plan. If you have ever had to miss work or perhaps had to lay off your recreational activity because of a joint issue then perhaps you already know the value of seeking the advice of a physiotherapist or chiropractor in order to get back in the game. But do you know the value of seeking the advice of a personal trainer to keep you injury free after the therapist releases you from their treatment?
Continuing to improve the strength and flexibility around a joint will help prevent re-injury. A therapist can get you back to a baseline where you can once again get back to work or play but they no doubt will release you from treatment once a certain level of activity is reached. A certified trainer can take you beyond that basic strength level which will help keep your joints injury free. You might not need the trainer for every single workout you do. If you are experienced and have good body awareness you may only need the trainer’s program and a session or two to get the technique perfected. Improving the strength of all muscle surrounding a joint after an injury to it is not the only reason to weight train, conditions such as arthritis can also be managed with appropriate exercise.
Young people involved in competitive sports can really benefit from age appropriate weight training exercises. Getting an assessment from a trainer in order to determine muscle imbalances and then training to correct those imbalances will be extremely beneficial to their competitive success. They gain plenty from the sport specific training, where they are actually in the pool or on the ice but gaining muscle mass through appropriate strength training exercises will improve the quality of their performance as well as help keep them injury free. Weak muscle gives out over time, especially from repetitive activity such as swimming or running, and injury occurs. Keep your young athlete healthy, strong and competitive through age appropriate, technique correct, weight training. Young women, athletes or not, who train with weights are building bone density which will benefit them years later when their estrogen levels begin to decline,
Adults who want to enjoy golf, pickleball or skiing without shoulder or knee pain are also encouraged to make strength training a part of their routine. This age group typically does not recover as quickly from injury as do younger athletes, therefore making the strength training even more important. Acute injuries such as sprained joints will see some prevention through strength training but those nagging chronic complaints such as tendinitis can really benefit from keeping the muscle around the joint strong. Anyone participating in a sport that is one side specific, such as tennis, can really benefit from strength training. The repetitive nature of some sports build too much muscle on one side of the body and not enough on the other. Doing weight training exercises that promote balanced strength in both sides of the body equally, such as a single arm row for the tennis player, will prevent the muscle hypertrophy on one side of the body.
Older adults that just want to maintain a good quality of life will also benefit from strength training. Keeping grip strength to lift and carry, leg strength to travel and explore, upper body and core strength to maintain good posture can all be achieved by working out with weights. Training the cardiovascular system by daily walking is excellent for many reasons but it may not be enough. Resistance training as little as once or twice a week should also be part of your routine. Seek the advice of a fitness professional to get correct technique and training plans however, as doing it incorrectly will do more harm than good. Young, old or in between add strength training to your week, especially if you have experienced an injury that has kept you away from work or from your chosen recreational passion. Keep strong and enjoy life to the fullest.
Holly Vanderzwet, B.P.E.
Fitness Corner and Fitness Corner South